Financial services are the firms that help you secure a mortgage, pay for health insurance or invest in stocks. They include banks, credit unions, investment firms and more. They don’t just serve individual consumers, but also small businesses, large corporations and nonprofits.
The financial services industry is all-encompassing today, but it wasn’t always that way. Historically, each sector of the financial services industry more or less stuck to its niche. Banks offered checking and savings accounts, loan associations provided mortgages, and brokers focused on the stock market.
Now, many companies offer multiple financial products, and some even provide a range of auxiliary services like data processing. These companies are known as conglomerates. A financial services company might have a number of subsidiaries that operate independently, but it might also have one parent firm that owns and operates the brands under which the subsidiary businesses function.
In the case of a conglomerate, employees might work for both the subsidiary and parent firm. This is common in sectors such as retail banking and insurance, where people often need to be licensed by both the state and the federal government.
Working in the financial services industry can be stressful. People in this field might find themselves juggling a number of projects at once, and the hours are often long. Still, the pay is competitive. Those that get to the top of the ranks could earn up to the high 5 figures. It’s important for those thinking of a career in finance to understand that this is a role that requires intelligence, quick-thinking and teamwork.